Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us. Besides the big game, get ready for cholesterol-heavy appetizers and lots of beer.
Observing the holiday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has put out a timely notice (titled "Referee a Safe Super Bowl Party")advising football-watching Americans to play it safe this weekend — and it's more clever and pun-filled than your average government agency press release.
"When it comes to the Super Bowl, defense matters. When it comes to planning a Super Bowl XLV party, a good defense against foodborne illness matters even more."
"Avoid penalties for 'illegal use of hands.' Unclean hands are one of the biggest culprits for spreading bacteria, and finger foods at parties are especially vulnerable."
"Think of your party fare as two different teams—uncooked versus ready-to-eat foods."
"Call a 'time out' and use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked."
"'Holding' may be one of the most likely offenses your referee encounters if your party lasts late into the night. Never hold foods for more than two hours at room temperature."
"When it comes to foodborne illness, there is no opportunity for an instant replay. To avoid these infractions, make sure you understand the rules completely."
Somewhere, the USDA press officer who penned this notice must be smiling.
Though silly, the release has a serious point. "This year, we're urging fans to follow the food safety play book at the Super Bowl parties they host,” USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen says. “Large gatherings can increase the chance of becoming ill, but by following these rules all fans can enjoy the game and their food, safely."